N.A.G. (Network Auralization for Gnutella)

N.A.G. was an application that used data from the Gnutella peer-to-peer network. The user would enter search words and the application would start looking for mp3 files matching those keywords. Due to the nature of Gnutella, a mp3 file is downloaded in fragments. These fragments form the core of the musical result: Instead of mapping data, the sound files themselves are transformed based on various parameters that can be set interactively by the user. The downloaded fragments are played back at a speed depending on the available bandwidth.

The available bandwidth to a file being downloaded also controls the rate at which the most recently downloaded fragment is repeated as well as the volume. When there is no new data available, the user can set the last files (the two last seconds from the file) to be downloaded to create a kind of stuck-record feeling. In case he does not use that option, the system will be silent until new data comes through. This looping feature is automatically interrupted when new data comes through: the system jumps right to the newly downloaded fragment. The user can also set the number of sound files being played simultaneously, which can lead to a polyphonic soundscape. Besides the sound-altering parameters, the search for specific files has an influence as well. Exploiting these possibilities, Press the Button made a collage using two computers running the program and making a live mix.

The N.A.G interface

Gnutella has lost quite some popularity and some software modules are not supported anymore, making the software obsolete. However, you can hear sound examples on the website. Freeman has also released a track on the as well as a track released on a People Doing Strange Things With Electricity Too, an experimental music compilation album (available for free).

ilegalart.net made a collage (see below), mashing up a simultaneous search for music from the Beatles and Radiohead.

About Jason Freeman

Jason Freeman is a composer and professor of music at Georgia Tech. His work is centred around collaborative, experimental, and accessible music-making. His works have been performed in many places such as Carnegie Hall, and his research has been published in leading journals such as Computer Music Journal.


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